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The Snows Of Kilimanjaro

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It is my claim that Ernest Hemingway's piece, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is most effective at showing how trivial life can be as it regards to what people think is needed to be successful in life for three main reasons. The reasons are that people put too much time into achieving unrealistic goals, people get too involved in obtaining their goals and do not appreciate what they have, and people have the wrong idea about success and can not obtain true success with the wrong vision of what it is. Some people put too much time into achieving their unrealistic goals, and never realize them and then end up wasting most of their life and lively hood in search of their personal success. Those same people also never stop to appreciate what they have in their lives, when all they were trying to obtain could have been in front of them and all they ever wanted. Most goals that people believe make them successful do not, many people have the wrong idea of what success is and when someone dies this is the only time they will realize what actual success is.

Hemingway's story begins with Harry and his wife on Kilimanjaro arguing over many petty things. Harry had gotten into an accident and scraped his leg while they were on their hunting trip. The wound got infected, even though Harry put some medication on it, the wound soon started to become gangrene. He is lying on a cot for the whole story while he continues to bicker with his wife. Many Vultures are around and Harry makes comments on how they must smell the leg, and that is what attracts them to him. Harry has many recollections of events through out his life, he referred to them as the topics he wished he would have written about.

Through all of Harry' recollections of his life he wonders where all his time went. He starts to think about how he has wasted he life and talent with the "enemy"; money, rich women, and soft living all symbolizing the forces of corruption. The story ends with Harry getting "rescued" by men in a plane that had landed near them, which the reader soon finds out it was just Harry's dream as he actually dies. His wife is awoken by a hyena that had fallen off a cliff that was making a human-like cry. When she goes to check on Harry, she finds that he has stopped breathing, and the hyena continues to make the sound that had waken her up, but she did not hear it, all she could hear was the beating of her own heart.

A specific audience for this piece that Hemingway could have written this story is middle aged men, who are trying to find out where their lives have gone and if they had lived their lives successfully of not. This work is appealing to this audience because they can identify with the main character Harry and his feelings of regret and self doubt of his accomplishments and position in life. Only when people get closer to death do they start to look back on their lives, and question whether they have done all they wanted or not. Lots of men in their late 30's to late 40's also tend to have a mid-life crisis where they wonder what they have done with their life. Theses people can identify with Harry and can be targeted as the specific audience.

The symbols used through out the story are what make "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" an appealing piece of literature. The vultures which descend upon and fly above the camp and the hyena who visits the camp signify naturally, in the context of the situation, the presence of death. The gangrenous leg of the dying writer is another symbol, of course, of death. But in the larger context, since Harry is a writer, they symbolize his moral corruption and artistic decay. Beyond this Harry's wife being a rich woman symbolizes the very forces which have brought about the destruction of his integrity. She is precisely identical with the gangrenous leg, and hence with the vultures and hyena. All of these are the forces of death in all its forms: moral death, artistic death, physical death. They all add meaning to this piece and make it more intriguing to read. I support the assumptions made in this work of how every person tries to see where there their life went wrong when on their death bed. Every person who knows that they are going to die very soon, will look back at their life to see how they lived it. Weather every person will regret what they have done or if they will regret that they have yet to do depends on the person. However, every person who sees death in the near future will look back on their life and have some form of regret.

Hemingway's work is most effective in showing how trivial life is in terms of what people feel is needed to be successful. The time that people put into achieving unrealistic goals can be a waste of time and the person's livelihood. Many people believe that having lots of money or fame is what is needed to be successful. So many people spend their whole lives trying to realize their dream and end up achieving nothing.



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